With growing years, Aunt Chloe had become rather cross and less inclined to work than formerly, frequently sighing for the days when “Mas’r John didn’t want no clarin’ up, but kep’ things lyin’ handy.” With her hands on her fat hips she stood, coolly regarding Hugh, who was evidently too much in earnest to be opposed. Alice was coming, and the house must be put in order.
The cleaning and arranging was finished at last, and everything within the house was as neat and orderly as Aunt Eunice and Adah could make it, even Aunt Chloe acknowledging that “things was tiptop,” but said, “it was no use settin’ ’em to rights when Mas’r Hugh done onsot ’em so quick;” but Hugh promised to do better. He would turn over a new leaf, so by way of commencement, on the morning of Alice’s expected arrival he deliberately rolled up his towel and placed it under his pillow instead of his nightshirt, which he hung conspicuously over the washstand. His boots were put behind the fire-board, his every day hat jammed into the bandbox where ’Lina kept her winter bonnet, and then, satisfied that so far as his room was concerned, everything was in order, he descended the stairs and went into the garden to gather fresh flowers with which still further to adorn Alice’s room. Hugh was fond of flowers, and two most beautiful bouquets were soon arranged and placed in the vases brought from the parlor mantel, while Muggins, who trotted beside him, watching his movements and sometimes making suggestions, was told to see that they were freshly watered, and not allowed to stand where the sun could shine on them, as they might fade before Miss Johnson came.
During the excitement of preparing for Alice, the pain in his head had in a measure been forgotten, but it had come back this morning with redoubled force, and the veins upon his forehead looked almost like bursting with their pressure of feverish blood. Hugh had never been sick in his life, and he did not think it possible for him to be so now, so he tried hard to forget the giddy, half blinding pain warning him of danger, and after forcing himself to sip a little coffee in which he would indulge this morning, he ordered Claib to bring out the covered buggy, as he was going up to Lexington.
MEETING OF ALICE AND HUGH